The Johnson Society of Australia

Celebrating the life and work of the 18th Century writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson and his circle.

The latest news from the JSA

JSA authors have been busy

Professor Tim Entwisle: Sprinter and Sprummer: Australia’s Changing Seasons

John Wiltshire: The Hidden Jane Austen

Paul Tankard: Facts and Inventions: Selections from the Journalism of James Boswell

Bronwen Hickmann: Mary Gaunt, Independent Colonial Woman

JSA members have been busy writing and publishing books, as this article shows:

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Distinguished career of Gordon Turnbull

The Patron of the Johnson Society of Australia, and our 2014 Fleeman Memorial Lecturer, Australian-born Gordon Turnbull has been since 1997 General Editor of the Yale Boswell Editions.

In this capacity.  he succeeds some of the almost legendary names of eighteenth-century editorial scholarship, among them Frederick Pottle, Frank Brady, and Marshall Waingrow. Continuing their work, he oversees a global editorial team bringing to publication selections of the vast archive of James Boswell’s private papers, most of which had been suppressed by Boswell’s descendants and were rediscovered only in the twentieth century.

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Keeping Boswell in repair

“Keeping Boswell in Constant Repair" is the title of Gordon Turnbull’s 2014 Fleeman Memorial Lecture. He explains: The popularity of Boswell's Life of Johnson somehow manages to survive the assaults,…

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New venue for AGM

There will be a new venue for the 2014 JSA Annual General Meeting and David Fleeman Lecture, to be given by our Patron Dr Gordon Turnbull, on October 25.

The AGM will begin at 3.30pm sharp, and the Fleeman Lecture at 5pm.

The meeting will be held at Tonic House, 386 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, between Queen Street and Market Street. Trams serve both Flinders Street and Collins Street from either Southern Cross or Flinders St stations.

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Varied program for 2014 seminar

The fascinating story of Four Oaks Farm, where for over 60 years Donald and Mary Hyde built the great Johnson Collection, now held at Harvard, was a feature of the JSA’s 2014 seminar, held on July 5.

The paper was given by John Byrne, President of the JSA who corresponded with Mary Hyde for twenty years, and served with her as Governor of Dr Johnson’s House. Last year at the Houghton Library, Harvard, he was given private access to the Hyde treasures. (more…)

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Wit and scholarship for the 20th  Fleeman

Kate Burridge: “Magnificence of Promise”: Johnson, advertising and the anodyne necklace

Complaints about advertising are a mainstay of cultural criticism, and we should not be surprised that Samuel Johnson should have cast a wry and critical eye upon advertising in his own time.  This was the subject of the JSA’s twentieth annual Fleeman Memorial Lecture, given a witty and scholarly treatment by Professor Kate Burridge of Monash University.

According to Prof. Burridge,  readily identifiable advertisements were printed by Caxton, making the practice as old as printing in England.  But the growth of consumerism and of newspapers in the eighteenth century meant that the number and range of advertisements grew rapidly over Johnson’s lifetime.

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New Membership Category

Members are reminded that subs for 2013-2014 are due on 1 July this year.

Following a decision at last year’s AGM, a new category, Household Membership, will be introduced to cover more than one person living at the same address.

Fees for the coming year are therefore as follows:

  • Individual membership: $50.00
  • Individual concession (pensioners, students): $40.00
  • Household membership: $75.00
  • Household concession: $65.00 (more…)

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We notch up our first 20 years!

A memorial by Bryan Reid

October 9, 2013 will mark the 20th anniversary of the foundation of The Johnson Society of Australia, at the end of a seminar at the Council of Adult Education, Melbourne.

The birth of the JSA was a somewhat prolonged, but enjoyable process. It had begun two years earlier, at a similar CAE seminar when I first met the three who helped provide the impetus for getting an Australian Johnson Society off the ground.

They were the late Dr Rusi Khan, then Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Monash University, Prof Clive Probyn,  then Head of English at Monash and Dr John Wiltshire (now Professor Emeritus) then Senior Lecturer in English at Latrobe University. (more…)

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